Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

J's Visit Pt. 2: Redemption in the Desert

by Izzy Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 12:55:57 AM EST

...so where was I?  Oh, right -- collapsed in front of the tv, exhausted and sunburned, after traipsing all over Los Angeles for 3 days with Jerome, and still not packed or ready for our drive to the Netroots Nation convention in Las Vegas, facing what would undoubtedly be some sort of ungodly early start commenced with a hellish amount of ambition.

I think my last entry probably gave you an inkling about my feelings in regards to 1. sun;  2. walking;  3. the outdoors and nature in general;  and 4.  backseat drivers.  Given this, could any good come of Jerome and I taking a road trip in a convertible through the desert in July?  Could it possibly end well?  And the biggest questions -- who would drive?  And would the iPhone end up in a shallow grave?  


Read more... (84 comments, 1248 words in story)

Jerome a Los Angeles

by Izzy Wed Jul 28th, 2010 at 09:43:27 PM EST

I have no idea if Jerome enjoyed his visit.  None.  I mean... he's French.  And quite possibly part Vulcan.  I just don't know how to read him.  But he told me to "fire the first shot" on the blog, if you can believe that.

He said it with all sorts of confidence, too, like he'd have TONS of rebuttals and defenses.  And I know what he's gonna tell you -- that I smoke and stay up all night and never cook, that he slept on a couch and was forced to watch really bad reality tv and eat expired cereal.

Do NOT believe everything you read!  There was all sorts of unexpired cereal for him to choose from.  Is it my fault he picked the dusty box of healthy bran stuff that I've been ignoring?  I mean, I don't even know where that box came from or how he found it.  I think it was here when I moved in.

And... well, ok, also... I confess I yelled at him a little, teensy bit, but honestly -- is it really culturally acceptable ANYWHERE to be a back-seat driver?  Even if you're from FRANCE?  

Admittedly, there's much I don't know about other cultures, but surely nagging the driver is NOT some accepted practice in Europe.  I refuse to believe it.  You're not THAT foreign!  We must have at least that much shared humanity, right?  But I'm getting way ahead of myself.  Follow me over the jump and I'll tell you how the trouble started....

Read more... (104 comments, 2971 words in story)

personal update

by Izzy Sat Jul 17th, 2010 at 04:04:36 AM EST

I've been trying to think how to write something about my mom.  I might have just skipped writing about it and moved on to other things, if not for the fact that in mid-crisis, I'd posted a diary about the situation and, in what I've learned is a pretty dependable reaction in these parts, I'd gotten a lot of support from the community.

So although many here on ET already know, I felt I should say something to the blog-at-large.  It didn't seem right to attempt to write anything else like nothing happened after having posted that howl-of-pain diary.

My mom passed away on May 6th.  Although I've written it several times in personal communication and had to say it out loud to numerous people, it's still a hard sentence, so blunt, so definite... but at the moment, I don't seem to have whatever it takes to write much more about it.

Read more... (14 comments, 473 words in story)

Yes, a river does run through it

by Izzy Thu Jul 8th, 2010 at 03:26:41 PM EST

I've been following this story for awhile with the good intention of writing about it, but we all know where that road goes...

In any case, don't know how many of you have seen/or are aware of the Los Angeles river (yes, we have one... sorta), but it's been an ongoing battle here to get it seen as, y'know, a river.  Or at least something other than the two prevailing views of it as either an extended sewage line or a location for scary movie scenes.

I can't do photos at the moment, but you can see our river in all its glory here:


But today, in a bit of good news, we can score one for the good guys...

Read more... (33 comments, 357 words in story)

My Mom

by Izzy Fri Apr 16th, 2010 at 09:04:31 PM EST

I don't think I've cried so much my entire life put together as I have in the past 3 1/2 weeks.  Tears of sadness, tears of loss, tears of helplessness and exhaustion and every variety of grief.  Right now, I'm crying tears of pure rage.

My mother, my dear, sweet, helpless mother is right now curled in a ball in a bed in a nursing home 400 miles away from me, crying please, please, please over and over.

My step-dad is there with her.  And his daughter-in-law.  His son is driving to their home to retrieve my step-dad's nitroglycerin medicine because he's having chest pains.  The whole family is distraught and overwhelmed.  

And in the midst of the frantic phone calls about what to do and what's happening and what can possibly be done, I had the stunning realization that we're all frantically hoping that my mother's latest test results show something is wrong.

Read more... (37 comments, 2724 words in story)

Listen up, boys!

by Izzy Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 05:38:34 AM EST

I keep saying how I don't have much time to write, how I'm all BUSY, but then I keep getting irritated by things I'm reading and, mere DAYS ago, I have to end up writing over THREE THOUSAND words on HCR (which, admittedly, was somewhat cathartic, but that's beside the point) and I pop in after a HELLISH day Thursday just to relax a bit and see what's what and what do I find?  You guys having a whole mini-meta to-do, not only about the French burka fiasco, but ALSO getting pissy about gender roles and WHO is commenting about said French fiasco.  In the midst of this, a very good question is asked: "My question is what makes you[a female] better able to understand their situation than me[a male]?"

Well, gather 'round the thread, boys, cuz your good friend, Izzy, has something to say -- you know I love you, right?  So try not to take offense, but there's a thing or two I think you need to know and I want you to listen closely.  Very closely, and... HEY!  don't even THINK about commenting yet!   I am NOT talking down to you!  It's just that when it comes to CLOTHES (and of course shoes), then we females damned well ARE in the 'expert' category and you, as a male, have NO IDEA the breadth and depth of your ignorance on this topic.  

I'm sorry but I felt I needed to be blunt and agressive.  Now that I have your attention, follow me over the jump and I'll tell you all about it.  I'll start with my underwear...

front-paged with trepidation by afew

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An overly-long rant about HCR

by Izzy Mon Jan 25th, 2010 at 05:34:01 AM EST

"Death to insurance!  Raze their buildings, burn their actuarial tables, and salt their office complexes.  The insurance industry must die."

That was me writing in 2004.  I feel a bit funny quoting myself, but I just wanted to make sure we're all very, very clear on my feelings about the insurance industry -- I hate it.  

I'm also quite hard line on my political stance that PROFIT and MARKETS have NO PLACE in the healthcare debate.   Anyone who looks at people's misfortune and misery -- their injury and illness -- and seeks to make a profit from it should be reviled and shunned by decent people everywhere.

Ok, so now that we have my feelings and beliefs on the matter firmly established, follow me over the jump if you want to hear why I whole-heartedly support the passage of the US Senate Healthcare Reform bill.

Read more... (68 comments, 3818 words in story)

Trantor Before The Fall

by Izzy Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 10:46:08 AM EST

So today I had to take a trip to downtown L.A. to copy some papers from the archives.  Admittedly, it's been a while since I've been in a government building in California and, like everyone else, I've been hearing the news about how bankrupt the state is, but still...  I was unprepared for what I saw...

Tales of Small Government - afew

Read more... (107 comments, 618 words in story)

Music OT: iPod Guilty Secrets

by Izzy Sat Aug 22nd, 2009 at 05:23:23 PM EST

It used to be you had to know someone pretty well before you were able to paw through their music collections.  Now, with the popularity of the iPod, you can carry the whole thing in your pocket.  It's all right there for the most casual acquaintance to comment on and it's had a delightful side-effect -- the advent of the guilty iPod lunge.

I see people all the time, standing around outside of nightclubs peering at iPods -- excitedly sharing some new find, settling an arcane lyrical dispute, or doing the iPod one-up to see who has the most or coolest stuff.  

And then it happens.  Something the owner finds embarrassing shuffles on and there's that dive for the forward button, the hurried, defensive explanations.  Or, even more amusing, the flat-out denial -- "I don't know how that got on there."

This has led me to believe that everyone, no matter how confident and cool, bold or brazen, has some bit of music they feel requires an explanation.  Even me.  Follow me over the jump and I'll show you mine, if you show me yours...

Read more... (48 comments, 296 words in story)

From deepest darkest Los Angeles...

by Izzy Mon Aug 17th, 2009 at 06:23:25 PM EST

Way back in ancient blog times, aka 2005, there were a couple of diaries, one by Fran and one by Canberra boy, linking to a UN report which said that parts of America were as poor as the Third World.

Some dismissed the report as hyperbole, but I thought it was entirely accurate and ended up engaged in an argument that ranged across several posts and became increasingly heated.  The argument derailed into things such as the finer points of US labor law, international comparisons on the price of a gallon of milk, and whether or not it's ok to call someone an asshole over a Walmart dispute.

Read more... (93 comments, 486 words in story)

A Word to Mumbai

by Izzy Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:32:43 PM EST

As you know, I haven't been writing lately and, before you get all excited, be warned that this is gonna be both uninformative and fairly pointless, but I need to get this off my chest.

I just really felt the need to offer some advice to my new friends in Mumbai.

Read more... (36 comments, 1040 words in story)

Friday Photography Blog #82

by Izzy Sat Apr 11th, 2009 at 06:45:15 AM EST

I don't know what I was thinking, volunteering to post this week's photography blog.   Well, ok, I do sorta know --  I was thinking that here was something I could do that didn't involve writing because, dammit, I'm blocked!  Haven't I been saying so?  

But after I'd already committed to it, it hit me -- don't the photos have to tell a story of sorts?  have some sort of underlying narrative or theme or something?  and wouldn't you guys be expecting something like this?


Or this?


But that would be predictable.  I don't want to bore everyone.

Promoted by whataboutbob

Read more... (67 comments, 445 words in story)

Cheesed off

by Izzy Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 05:21:59 AM EST

Whenever anyone's asked me about attempting to get help from the US government, I've given this advice:  have someone beat you in the head with a bat or similar heavy object (any repeated blunt force trauma will do) and, while you're still reeling, have them hand you a block of cheese.  

You'll get the same result -- headache, trauma, cheese -- but without the emotional humiliation and in a lot less time.

I don't know what the deal is -- if it's just a US thing or a worldwide phenomenon -- but in my experience as the child of a Welfare Mother, whatever happened we always just ended up with cheese.  So perhaps my own personal issues have something to do with why I got so pissed off reading this AP article today:

The 'Cheese Sandwich Diet' for School Kids

Read more... (42 comments, 983 words in story)

Enticing The Tapeworm

by Izzy Sat Jan 31st, 2009 at 03:23:17 AM EST

Folklore has it that if you have a tapeworm, you can entice it out with a bowl of warm milk.  This is one of those things almost everybody has heard, but no one knows where it came from.  The origins are presumably lost in a misty past.  Or a wormy past.  Definitely a past in which the tapeworm figured large.

Anyway, there are two schools of thought... well, thought isn't exactly the right word in this discussion... let's say factions.  There are two factions in the warm milk theory of enticing a tapeworm -- whether or not to place the milk in front of your mouth, or behind your... well, your behind.  

In either case, the thought that someone would welcome a worm crawling out of either orifice just goes to show the lengths people are willing to go to when they're sick and just want to feel the hell better.

Not that tapeworm is a big problem here, currently, but with millions of folks in the US without health insurance, I figured there'd be more of this kind of 'wisdom' being passed around and, having some experience in the folk remedy arena, decided I'd write this handy guide to curing what ails you, without benefit of a doctor.

Read more... (127 comments, 1031 words in story)

Harvey Milk

by Izzy Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 06:23:41 AM EST

"If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door"

Those were the words of Harvey Milk, taped shortly before his assassination in November, 1978. He was a good man, a brave man.  The volume of hate mail during the election was such that on November 18, 1977, he recorded the quoted tape "in the event of his assassination."  I can't imagine the kind of courage that took.

A year later, on November 27, 1978, Harvey Milk was shot 5 times by a man named Dan White, a former cop, fireman, and County Supervisor himself.  He also shot the Mayor of San Francisco, George Moscone.

front-paged with an edit by afew

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Merry !@#! Christmas: Writer's Block Edition

by Izzy Wed Dec 24th, 2008 at 02:43:07 AM EST

I took this photo of an ancient writer with his tools at the Louvre.  

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

That's right.  It's a writer.  In a glass box.  In France.  You'd think something would practically write itself.

I got nothin'...

Read more... (36 comments, 227 words in story)

Accidental Politics

by Izzy Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 05:05:21 AM EST

Ok, so I admit I haven't been writing much.  Or... well, at all really.  But I have really good excuses -- divorce!  bankruptcy!  physical problems! moving! -- also, I have some really bad excuses.  I mean, if I could tell you guys all the bad excuses, you'd totally understand.  

But this is a family blog, so let's just say I've been in avoidance behavior.  Serious Avoidance Behavior (note the capital letters).  There's been carousing, romance, music, shoes -- even Paris! -- and what's turned out to be a pancake binge of monumental proportions.  In other words, everything but politics.

But reality has a way of rudely interrupting and this upcoming election is really quite insistent.  No matter how I try to ignore it, it keeps bumping into me.  Plus, years ago, I made the mistake of giving Jerome my IM information.

So I guess there's nothing for it but to write.  I have no coherent narrative, or point really, but I was asked on this very blog how things were being viewed in my "circle" here's some random observations and incidents...

Read more... (38 comments, 1422 words in story)

My Paris Diary

by Izzy Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 05:05:40 AM EST

Well, I'm finally back home and somewhat recovered from my trip.  I learned a lot in Paris.  The biggest and most important thing I'll state right here up top.  Think of it as something of a public service announcement, since I think everyone -- even those too lazy to click on the link and read the rest of this post -- should know this:

It IS possible in France to "miss" your flight an hour before the plane takes off.

Now take a moment to ponder that so you never forget.

Okay, now that we've given this fact its due respect, let us proceed...

Read more... (46 comments, 2224 words in story)

Izzy Paris

by Izzy Wed Sep 17th, 2008 at 07:17:18 PM EST

I am writing this because I am so excited and happy to be in Paris that I just had to share it with you, my friends, collegues, and allies.  And also because I am staying at the à Paris household and Jerome will not let me into my room to sleep until I have posted a diary.  

I will also acknowledge that my somewhat formal writing tone is not only to be attributed to my being under duress... er, I mean overhwhelmed with enthusiasm, but also to the fact that I am having the pleasure of learning the French keyboard and I cannot locate the apostraphe.  I am also avoiding the letters M and W, not entirely successfully.

But let us proceed.

Read more... (48 comments, 317 words in story)

Mother's Day American Style

by Izzy Mon May 12th, 2008 at 03:24:24 AM EST

"I've been actually able to see my mom and tell her how much I love her and how much I miss her."

Jada Pointer's tummy ache was cured with a smile.

It was the perfect smile: her mom's. The 9-year-old from Perris hadn't seen that comforting smile in more than a year.

Nine-year-old Albert Gonzalez held onto his mother's long hair like it was his lifeline. The boy from San Bernardino twisted it, tasted it, tangled it through his fingers and plucked a strand or two to save for later.

"I need it, Mommy," he said, gripping a strand in his hand. "I need it to take home."

These are the stories of the kids who take the annual Mother's Day bus ride to visit their moms in California's prisons.

Brought across by afew

Read more... (28 comments, 830 words in story)
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